Chemotherapy is one of the longest-used and most common treatments for neuroendocrine tumors. In most cases, chemotherapy works by interfering with the tumor’s ability to grow and reproduce. For some types of tumors, chemotherapy may be used alone or in combination with other treatments, such as radiation or surgery. A combination of chemotherapy medicines is typically used to fight a specific cancer.
While chemotherapy can be quite effective in treating NETs, the medications reach all parts of the body, not just the tumorous cells. There can be many side effects during treatment and discussing these side effects with your care team before treatment can help you and your caregivers manage them effectively.
Radiation therapy is the most common treatment for NETs but is often used along with other treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy. Your doctor may recommend radiation if it’s necessary to:
- Shrink a tumor before surgery to make it easier to remove
- Kill any remaining tumor cells following surgery
- Relieve symptoms such as pain, bleeding, trouble swallowing, cough or problems caused by the tumor spreading
External beam radiation therapy is frequently used to treat NETs. This treatment focuses a beam of radiation on the tumor to eliminate cancerous cells.
During surgery for an NET, surgeons remove the tumor and a small amount of surrounding healthy tissue. Patients have several surgical options, and the type of surgery can depend on a few factors, such as:
- Your overall health
- The type and stage of your tumor
- The size of the tumor
Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy administers targeted radiation specifically to the tumor cells with the help of a radioactive pharmaceutical agent.
Learn more about Radiopharmaceutical Treatments.